On Wednesday, Opera Software revealed its latest interest: mobile advertising. The Norwegian browser maker has acquired AdMarvel with an eye toward monetization of Opera-branded mobile products and services offered by mobile operators and content partners.
Based in San Mateo, Calif., AdMarvel works with a broad set of advertising players to improve the performance of mobile advertising. The startup was founded in 2006 by a team of mobile veterans led by CEO Mahi de Silva.
AdMarvel connects mobile publishers and operators to source, provision, manage and track advertising from most ad networks or direct-sourced advertising inventory. Its services work across mobile and in-application modes.
"We are very excited about joining forces with Opera," de Silva said. "Combining our monetization and analytics platform with the Opera browser and widget platform will create a new intelligent platform where local and global advertisers can interact with a highly instrumented mobile audience."
Marveling Over AdMarvel
AdMarvel may be an upstart, but it has found its measure of success. The company struck a deal with ClearSky Mobile Media last year to deliver performance ad-management solutions to millions of mobile customers in ClearSky's portfolio of regional carriers. AdMarvel has also developed an iPhone Advertising Toolkit.
AdMarvel works with global and regional ad networks, including AdMob, Admoda, BuzzCity, Google, JumpTap, Millennial Media, mKhoj, Mojiva, Movoxx, Nokia, Quattro Wireless, Ringleader Digital, RingRing Media, Smaato, Third Screen Media, and Zestadz.
"In our fast-growing industry, mobile advertising represents an interesting long-term revenue opportunity," said Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software. "Every month, nearly 50 million people access the web use Opera on their mobile phones and, together with AdMarvel, we think we can play an important role in the evolution of mobile advertising."
The Surge of Mobile-Ad Deals
Opera's mobile-advertising deal follows in the footsteps of both Google and Apple. In November, Google agreed to acquire mobile-ad technology provider AdMob for $750 million in stock. And earlier this month, Apple bought Google ad competitor Quattro Wireless in a deal analysts valued at $275 million.
It seems the war is on in the mobile ad space. Jupiter Research issued a recent report, Mobile Advertising: Delivery Channels, Business Models & Forecasts, that predicts the market will grow to $5.7 billion by 2014.
"Opera has browser leadership in mobile on a global basis; however, it's trying to broaden what it can provide to partners and the market. The ability to charge for a mobile browser is largely gone, so this makes sense. The company is looking for additional revenue streams," said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence.
"AdMarvel is a smaller player in the ad-network space. However, it's less of a surprise in a way than Apple acquiring Quattro," he added. "As more deals like this happen, it fuels further M&A activity. And we'll continue to see deals like this throughout 2010."